The ordeal is over: Valon Behrami, once an important part of Napoli's side and now just this side of a pariah, has been sold. German side Hamburg SV has purchased his contract rights for €4.5 million and signed him to a three year contract.
Behrami, who fell out of the plans of Rafa Benitez, fell out with Gokhan Inler, and then recently seemed to fall out with Rafa on a more personal level, now gets a fresh start in Germany, though he'll certainly have his work cut out for him. HSV are traditionally a proud side, though an extremely poor season almost saw them relegated last season, surviving by a late-gasp effort in a relegation playoff match.
Behrami gives the German side a defensive presence in their pivot who can help out the attack at times, which is something they desperately need. It's a role he played well under Walter Mazzarri, but the Swiss international just didn't mesh well with Rafa's tactical style and demands of his pivot midfielders. Behrami also brings a ton of experience from a variety of levels and situations to Hamburg with him, something they could likely use if they struggle again this season.
The €4.5 million transfer fee isn't terribly impressive, but it does reportedly have performance bonuses to send more money Napoli's way if Behrami, and by extension Hamburg, does well. It would have been nice if Napoli had been able to get the full €8 million they wanted for Behrami, but that was probably never likely after a poor season, and even less so after his public snit in training over the weekend.
For his part, Valon gave a heartfelt goodbye to the fans:
Questo per i tifosi del Napoli.. pic.twitter.com/U55YArKNUu— Valon Behrami (@ValonBera) August 2, 2014
"It is incredible reading all the messages you have sent me. I didn’t expect this and it makes me even more proud to have worn the Azzurri jersey.
"You are unique in every way, as in any gesture I heard your love for this shirt and your city. I just tried to honour and respect it.
"Now I hope you can finally make your dream come true and win the Scudetto!
"I also thank my teammates and the medical staff, as I leave a group of exceptional people that I was fortunate enough to work with.
"Thank you to the De Laurentiis family for giving me the chance to play somewhere special like Napoli and allowing me to make this dream of a new experience come true.
"In particular I thank director Riccardo Bigon, a great person who helped me in every moment.
"Thank you and Forza Napoli!"
-Translated quote source: Football Italia
Best of luck Valon. It's a shame things didn't work out at Napoli, but hopefully your new home treats you well.